Artikel i tidskrift

Flesh-images.: Body shame and affective ambiguites in Celebrity gossip magazines


Anja Hirdman


In the last decade celebrity gossip magazines targeted at a female audience have emerged in Sweden. With inquisitive attention paid to the detailed, fleshy exposure of female celebrities’ bodies and body parts, they portray what Weber refers to as body-based shame. This article argues that these flesh-images partake in an aesthetic feminine body discourse where the perfect and the imperfect are intrinsically linked with the ordinary and extraordinary paradox surrounding the celebrity persona. Flesh-images rely on their intertextuality. They indicate a loss of value, presenting female celebrities as ordinary by means of corporeal failure. While the exposure of body faults could point to the unattainable ideals of feminine bodily standards, they do so at the cost of reinforcing the implicit recognition of desire, shame and disgust familiar to female experience and looking relations. Hence, within a culture increasingly driven by a technology of extreme extroversion, flesh-images aimed at a female audience make sense through the logic of the revelation discourse that frames celebrity culture, and through the deeply ambivalent affects surrounding female embodiment.

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  • Typ:
    Artikel i tidskrift (refereegranskat)
  • Tidskrift:
    Celebrity Studies, Vol 1, Nr 1.
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Om författaren

Anja Hirdman

Anja Hirdman är professor och verksam som lektor vid JMK. Hon har en fil.mag i idéhistoria och doktorerade i journalistik med avhandlingen Tilltalande bilder. Genus, sexualitet och publiksyn i Veckorevyn och Fibaktuellt, 2002. Läs vidare


Hirdman, A. (2017). Flesh-images.: Body shame and affective ambiguites in Celebrity gossip magazines. Celebrity Studies, 1(1), pp. 1-13. Available at: [Accessed 7 Dec. 2022].